[K12OSN] OT: Apple Imac lab

David Hopkins dahopkins429 at gmail.com
Mon Mar 2 16:02:06 UTC 2009

> I agree with the sentiments of Terrell and Almquist. Bottom line, some
> of these teachers are not realistic in what they *think* they need to do
> the job . If the $$  were coming out of their own pocket,I would bet
> TC's would be more than adequate 99% of the time:). End of story.
> Most teachers have never had to be in the *real world* private
> sector,(as yours truly), were a profit has to be turned to remain
> viable. They are used to the limitless Joe Taxpayer money tree being
> available to dip from.

Thanks!  I often feel this way.

> I look at this way, if you were running the company and your dollars are
> being the source and someone wanted this type of setup for the demands
> that are at hand, would you Ok the go ahead with this? I guess I am too
> practical.

 The attitude that 'it is in the budget so we have to spend it' just
drives me up the wall.  I prefer zero-based budgeting: You don't have
a budget, you have to justify every single expense and show the
benefit each and every time.  It takes a lot of thought and effort to
do this though.  And, I work for the US gov as a research engineer, I
see lots of money spent and it is painful at times, especially around
Sept when the order goes out to 'spend all remaining funds in the
budget'.  I am hoping that the current fiscal crisis can change that

> The big 'ol power gobbling Imacs they are wanting is fine for someone
> working for Disney's high end production and such. These kids will never
> touch the upper 75% of power that these machines would be capable of.
> But I am sure David has to wrangle with not being the goat in this
> episode! You have to try and 'pacify' everyone in an school scenario, I
> have found.

Yep, but what is ironic is that if they really want to teach how
special effects are done, having a bunch of low power thin clients
that can be flipped into a 'render farm' for simple scenes would teach
them so much more.  Or just distributed computational processing in
general.  All of your serious high end computing uses clusters in this
way and thin clients can be turned into a 'cluster' with a little
effort.  Shoot, my analyses at work typically require 128-256
processors and 100's Gb of memory to run in a reasonable amount of
time(say a few days).  If we want kids to really get a jump on math
and science, we should be introducing them to this aspect of 'real
computing' early on.

> There are more than enough applications Open Source to do the things
> wanting done here and if they have patience and use realistic video
> resolutions could be done on TC's ,although not nearly as quickly as an
> thick client regardless of power.

Just need a change in mindset, that is true.

> Bottom line ,again. From I what I see here, I'd let whoever,is
> spearheading this,do what they want and simply steer clear of any input.
> In the end you'll save yourself lots of jabbing if you try and suggest
> otherwise.

I'm thinking of changing my name to Don Quixote ...

Dave Hopkins

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